The Greenbrier has been a gracious host to presidents, celebrities and luxury travelers from around the world since 1778, and Friday night was no exception – it was all glitz and glam for this spectacular. The Greenbrier Casino Club Open Event was one amazing evening! Celebrities, pro athletes and friends of The Greenbrier from all over the country (including yours truly) came out to celebrate the unveiling of the casino and to enjoy the amenities of this renowned resort in a most elegant atmosphere.
- Celebrity and WV native Jennifer Garner on the red carpet. Photo courtesy of Chris Dorst.
Some of the biggest names from the entertainment and sports worlds turned out for the event- the radiant Jennifer Garner was full of pride for her home state, Ben Affleck, the ever elegant and beautiful Brooke Shields and Jane Seymour, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, and the stunning Raquel Welch to name a few.
The evening began with a red carpet event. Celebrities arrived by vintage cars and walked a custom red carpet (complete with the elegant “G” logo) where they were welcomed by adoring fans and paparazzi. Once all celebrity guests were announced, everyone was seated and served an exquisite five-star gourmet dinner complete with a touch of Appalachian flair. After dinner, we were ushered into Colonial Hall to enjoy generously flowing cocktails and an intimate performance by special guest star Lionel Richie (personal top highlight!!), and he did not disappoint. Lionel gave a fabulous and energetic hour-long performance of hit songs, including “Lady”, “You Are”, “Running with the Night” and “Ballerina Girl”. It was almost surreal to dance to the beautiful live music just feet from this great performer. And though I could have easily been found “Dancing on the Ceiling” “All Night Long”, the party did not end here. At the close of the concert, Greenbrier Trumpeteers cued Michael Buffer to the stage to announce (in his iconic booming voice) “Let’s get ready to gamble“. And just like that, everyone descended to the Casino Club for the unveiling.
As Jim Justice (the evening’s host and owner of The Greenbrier) described it, The Casino Club is a combination of Monte Carlo and “Gone With The Wind”. It was evident that we were in the South –sweeping staircases, floral drapes and carpet, color EVERYWHERE and sticky sweet southern hospitality. Cocktail waitresses dressed in the fashion of Scarlett O’Hara welcomed us with champagne and a smile as we entered the gaming area. To further add to the ambiance, a performance of The Greenbrier Waltz took place at the stroke of 10 p.m. Three couples twirled atop the casino staircase to the sound of the original composition written especially for the hotel.
A few personal highlight’s of the evening:
~Lionel Richie in concert of course!
~My husband and I enjoyed a delightful conversation with Cowboys tight-end John Phillips (the husband is a lifelong Cowboys fan) as we wandered through the casino.
~Although I am fully aware of Shaquille O’Neal’s grand stature, I found that I was still taken when I said “hello” upon turning to finding all 7’1” of the sports star standing next to me at one point in the evening.
~At the request of, Jim Justice, guests joined in singing “Happy Birthday” to Jessica Simpson (who will celebrate her 30th on July 10).
~Enjoying the fine companyof friends during a historical moment in time
As a planner and designer, I not only take in an event experience as a whole, but also examine each individual element’s impact on the overall success of any celebration . This particular event and atmosphere provided a most elegant and memorable experience that will not soon be forgotten. I share the sentiment of fellow WV girl Jennifer Garner when she said The Greenbrier is a “very important reminder that we are one of the top travel destinations in the country and we have everything to offer. I’ve been to a lot of beautiful places in this country of ours, but I haven’t been to anything as glamorous or as elegant as this…I feel like I’m going to bust with pride that my home state has something this beautiful to offer”.
I look forward to the opportunity to work with clients to design unqiue event experiences in this magnificent venue. If you are planning for a wedding or other special event and The Greenbrier experience is what you envision, let’s be in touch to begin designing a unique celebration that will rival the most enchanting of events.